Tonali makes promise to Milan

Sandro Tonali reveals he snubbed ‘higher contract offers’ to return to Milan and confirms he took a pay cut to wear the Rossoneri shirt again.

The 21-year-old had joined Milan on a €10m loan with an option to buy from Brescia in 2020 and the Rossoneri should have paid €15m plus €10m in bonuses to make the player’s move permanent.

However, the economic issues caused by the COVID pandemic forced Milan to negotiate a lower deal and the Serie A giants managed to secure the player’s services for €7m plus €3m add-ons.

Tonali also helped to facilitate the deal, taking a pay cut.

“My desire to stay at Milan comes before anything else,” the former Brescia man told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“The terms of the deal between Milan and Brescia had expired, so we started from scratch and for me, it was important to make a step towards Milan.

“I had received higher offers from other clubs, but I am happy at Milan. Every player thinks differently. Some are moved by ambition, other by money, I believe that it is crucial to feel when in a club and here I can reach all my goals.”

Tonali played 37 games in his first season at the club, the second one in Italy’s top flight in his career, but failed to score a goal or deliver an assist.

“It wasn’t my best season, but it was a very complicated year,” Tonali admitted.

“I tested positive for COVID at the beginning of the season and it took a while to get back in shape. This season will be a different story, I know where I must improve.

“I have more experience now, on and off the pitch, I know my teammates and the coach.

“Pioli is like a father to me, we are a young squad and he knows how to motivate us, we analyse all the games and we are really united.

“I thank the club for gambling on me twice, I can ensure I will give my all to be up to the task.”

Both Fikayo Tomori and Olivier Giroud have claimed Milan aim for the Scudetto this season. Is it the Rossoneri’s target?

“Yes, we work all together for the same goal. We all share the same view,” Tonali claimed.

“We want to go as far as possible in the Champions League, we know it won’t be easy because Milan haven’t played in this competition for so long. But we are Milan and Europe is our home.

“I’ve always liked [Luka] Modric and it would be a dream to play against him.”

Tonali played three games in the EURO 2020 qualifiers but was not included in the team that won the continental competition this summer. However, is target is to make it into the World Cup squad in 2022.

“I watched all the games and it was amazing, even if I was at home. Winning the Euros made me proud, like all Italians. The national team is a consequence of what you do with the club, the pitch must do the talking and I will work hard to be there.”